Realizing this morning that life in a typically authoritarian 21st-century American university, in which faculty governance has been a bad joke for decades, teaches interesting lessons about the psychology of authoritarianism more broadly.
We're in the middle of a search for a new Provost here. Candidates are doing online forums. And I have little to no desire to listen. The faculty will have no say in the outcome.
And though we'll all eventually have to live with whomever gets chosen, if feels like a waste of emotional energy trying to anticipate how we'd manage to live with each of the other candidates, too.
The tl;dr:

Learned helplessness is a thing. And it never stops feeling terrible.

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More from @Ben_Alpers

13 Dec 20
Among all the misogyny and pettiness of that WSJ op-ed on Jill Biden, this little, lazy falsehood stands out to me: " In contemporary universities, in the social sciences and humanities, calling oneself Dr. is thought bush league."
This is vastly not the case. Whether professors with doctorates are usually referred to as "Dr." or "Prof." varies regionally.
In California, where I grew up as a faculty brat, I knew of nobody in the humanities and social sciences (or the sciences, for that matter) who styled themselves "Dr." It was always "Prof. so-and-so"
Read 6 tweets
29 Nov 20
This is (obviously) not the economic team we'd get from a President Sanders or a President Warren, but it's pretty good coming from Biden.
This is one of those moments in which serious bits of Left Twitter are distingushing themselves pretty clearly from less serious bits: the former are offering actual analysis of Biden's economic team; the latter are melting down over Neera Tanden, History's Greatest Monster.
This is a perfect illustration of the idiocy of Tanden obsession, courtesy of two of the usual suspects.
Read 7 tweets
8 Nov 20
The price of real political reconciliation is real repentence.

This country has made the mistake of attempting reconciliation without repentence. That what happened after Reconstruction collapsed in 1877.

We cannot afford to do that again.
And the problem is that we all know that there will be no repentence on the part of the people in power who led and enabled Trump, i.e. all Republican elected officials.

And there will be very little repentence on the part of the voters who supported them.
There will be little to no repentence because none of them think they did anything wrong.

They supported white supremacy and policies that have killed a quarter of a million of their fellow Americans in less than a year.

And they continue to support these things.
Read 6 tweets
8 Nov 20
Is there a common political take that is lazier than the argument that an election that results in divided government means that Americans want divided government?
To begin with, the Senate does not remotely reflect popular will (nor is it even designed to do so). And even the House, which in some sense is so designed, is gerrymandered to favor Republicans.
However disappointing the results of congressional races in this election were for Dems, more Americans cast votes for Dem House candidates than GOP House candidates. And the same is true for the Senate as a whole (though I'm not sure about the 1/3 that is being elected now).
Read 5 tweets
7 Nov 20
I've already seen a bunch of Republicans suggesting this was an unusually close election. But it really wasn't. Biden will likely end up with both very solid wins in both the electoral college and the popular vote.
That an unusually large number of states were very close (and more _looked_ very close than will likely end up that way) made for a lot of tv drama but ultimately didn't make the election unusually close, at least for this young century.
Both 2016 and 2000 were clearly closer elections than this one. And 2004 (which could have flipped with one close state, OH, going to Kerry) was arguably closer, too.
Read 6 tweets
19 Oct 20
This piece is practically journalistic malpractice. The US has long lines because the GOP wants fewer people, especially people of color, voting. And when it controls state governments, it does what it can to make voting more difficult. Long lines are an intentional outcome. 1/
Long lines at polling places are not a technical problem. There's no mystery at all in how to eliminate lines. Plenty of (blue) states do so. Solving the problem of long lines will involve either shoring up the constitutional right to vote or simply defeating Republicans. 2/
Unfortunately, the latter solution is at best temporary and the former solution can always be undone by a GOP Supreme Court, as the Roberts Court turned the 15th Amendment's enforcement clause into dead letter in Shelby County. 3/
Read 5 tweets

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